Decals push active transport

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Encouraging activity . . . Members of the Silver stream School Student Council display a map of the surrounding streets, an example of a footpath decal, and badges to be distributed to classmates from next week. Pictured are (back row, from left) Benjamin Paterson (10), Riley Honings (10), Samuel Clark (10), Olivia Jenkins (10), Grace Tapp (10), Katie Anderton (8), Nevaea Gallagher (6), Max Clarke (6), (middle) Kaito Fielder (9), Harvey Leslie (9), Jessica Harrisson (8), Emerson Guthrie (6), (front) Jayden Stanger (6), Kael Corfield (6), Riley Robin son (8), and Oceana Cookson (8). PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Colourful decals have been placed on footpaths around Silverstream School to alert children when they are within five or 10 minutes’ walk of the school gate.

The quirky decals, designed to show children and their parents how close they are to school, and how easy it is to walk, ride, or scoot to school, are part of a trial under the umbrella of Public Health South’s Walking Time Zone Mapping (WTZM) programme.

The 14 decals are evenly divided between the 10-minute walking zone and the five-minute walking zone.

The WTZM programme helps to map “walkable zones” around schools, and aims to encourage children to walk to school from home, or be dropped off a little further away.

This gives children more exercise, and also helps relieve congestion at the school gates.

Silverstream School principal Greg Hurley said the school’s pupils had been surveyed prior to the Term One trial, and would be surveyed again at the conclusion of the trial to see if numbers walking, biking, or scooting had increased.

If successful, the decal trial may be extended to other Dunedin schools.

Planning for the decal trial has coincided with the annual New Zealand-wide Walk n Wheel week, running from February 24 to 28, which aims to spur active transport for the school year.

“The decal trial means we will be continuing with our focus on active transport, with the support of our student council,” Mr Hurley said.

From Monday, the young councillors would be stationed at the school gates and would reward children with badges or stickers, depending on how far they had walked to school.

Mr Hurley said the Silverstream School student council was a proactive group, which had been involved in planning for mufti days, tree planting, and the installation of scooter paths at the school.

“We want to make this school a better place,” student councillor Benjamin Paterson said.